“Metasearch” is the Hot Topic in the hotel world at the moment.
Now I’m going to explain the difference between Trivago (or Trivago Express as it is known), Book on Google (Google Hotel Ads), and Instant Booking on TripAdvisor (Tripconnect).
1. What, if any, are the differences between Trivago Express Booking, Instant Booking on TripAdvisor, and Book on Google?
Trivago Express Booking, Book on Google and TripAdvisor Instant Booking share the same objective (increase conversion) but follow very different strategies.
2. What objectives do they have in common?
- Improving the user experience
- Increasing conversion by eliminating any possible loss (clients who don’t convert), which happens when the client goes to the OTA.
3. Can I connect my hotel’s booking engine?
- Yes, through a partner who has the required integration (Free To Book doesn’t work yet).
4. Is it a space reserved exclusively for the direct channel?
- No. OTAs also have access.
5. How much does it cost? Is it CPC or CPA?
- Instant Booking only offers a CPA (cost per action or commission) model in two formats: 12% (guarantees at least 25% visibility) or 15% (guarantees at least 50% visibility).
- Book on Google does not incur any additional cost, although in order to activate it, you need an active campaign on Google Hotel Ads. That does use CPC (cost-per-click) or CPA models, which range from 10% to 50% commission (depending on your choice).
- Trivago Express also doesn’t incur any extra cost, although in order to activate it you need an active campaign on Trivago, which is CPC-based.
6. If I don’t participate in my channel, will the OTAs?
- If you don’t participate, the OTAs will. The most aggressive are Booking.com and, more recently after its integration, Expedia.
- On Book on Google and Trivago Express, it’s not an important issue. OTAs can use it regardless of what you do.
7. Where is the booking made? Does the client know he is booking through the direct channel?
- TripAdvisor and Google highlight the collaboration with the channel which they connect to (OTA or hotel website). They do so visibly, yet with reduced importance.
- Trivago highlights the channel’s image much more by reducing the importance of its own brand, making the client feel that he is booking through the channel directly. In the case of OTAs and hotel chains, their logo stands out and in the case of hotels directly it states their name.
8. Once the booking process has started, can the client go to the hotel website?
- Google and TripAdvisor: No. The client can only finish the booking on Book on Google or Instant Booking.
- Trivago: Yes. The client can redirect to the hotel website and finish the booking there if he prefers.
9. Who does the client belong to, the hotel or the metasearch engine?
- Google, Trivago, and TripAdvisor all facilitate bookings and provide the hotel with the client’s details. However, the processing of these details is different.
- While TripAdvisor and Google also keep guests’ details, Trivago deletes them once they have been passed on to the hotel (unless the client expressly accepts otherwise).
- The client belongs to both in the cases of Instant Booking and Book on Google, but only to the hotel in the case of Trivago Express.
10. Where should I be putting my money?
- Trivago Express is very popular at the moment. Google is investing more and more money into the hospitality industry and TripAdvisor is one of the most visited websites in the world. My advice is to invest some money in all three platforms, judge it for a month, then whichever platform is bringing the most amount of bookings, invest more money in it.
Ultimately, Google always seems to win. If you wanted to just put money into one platform, then I would invest in Google. To find out more about Google Hotel Ads, I have put together a simplified blog here.